Charles Von Gunten (1946 - 2017)

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Charles Coburn Von Gunten, 71, went to be with Jesus peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 11, 2017.
Charles was born on Oct. 27, 1946, in Bath Township, Ohio. He graduated from Revere High School in 1964, then attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was one of the first to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Charles joined the Alaska District Corps of Engineers in 1971, and after 42 years, he retired as Chief of the Electrical and Mechanical Section.
Charles started at the Butte Fire Department when he was 24, and later became Fire Chief in 1984. In 2010, after 40 years with the department, he was awarded a ceremonial axe and was also given his own special day - "Chief Charles Von Gunten Day" – in recognition of his dedication to the volunteer fire department. In reflection, he said: "When you're doing something you like, time goes by very quickly. But you never expect to be rewarded for it."
Charles married the love of his life, Kathryn Schulman Von Gunten, in 1970. They have four children and 13 grandchildren. He loved Alaska and was so content in the home he built in the woods by the creek. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, restoring cars and serving his community by designing various buildings for Pioneer Peak Baptist Church, which started in his home, and the volunteer Butte Fire Department.
Charles was a godly husband, father and friend who will be remembered for his humor and the stories he shared. Whenever he faced pain or adversity, he would hold close the comfort of Psalm 23. He loved community and helping neighbors, something he passed down to his children. He taught them about loyalty, integrity and the need for the Savior Jesus Christ. Above everything else, Charles' first priority was his relationship with Jesus, and it transformed him into the man we all loved.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Coburn and Portia (Safreed) Von Gunten; and his brother, Curtis Von Gunten. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; his children, Marie (Doug) Roth, Coburn (Scarlett) Von Gunten, Sloan Von Gunten and Brian (Jodi) Von Gunten; and his grandchildren, McKenna, Morgan, Cade, Katie, Lucas, Kohler, Coburn, Hayden, Elijah, Clayton, Kaleb, Jude and Brinley.
A celebration of life will be held at Lazy Mountain Bible Church on Dec. 23, 2017, with a viewing at 1 p.m., and a service at 2 p.m. There will be a potluck afterwards. Interment will be at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson on Dec. 27, 2017, at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Butte Fire Department Association or Lazy Mountain Bible Church Benevolent Fund.
Funeral Home
Kehl's Palmer Legacy Funeral Home
209 S. Alaska St.
Palmer, AK 99645
(907) 745-3580
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Dec. 22, 2017
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